Independence Day

Another year passes!

Once again, I wish my American readers a happy Independence Day.

In the midst of many threats to the liberty and fundamental human rights your Constitution is designed to guarantee, may God preserve your faith and foundations of democracy.

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2 Responses to Independence Day

  1. ed pacht says:

    Thank you, Father. Your graciousness is appreciated, however . . .

    I am an American and glad to be such, but, at the risk of raising a firestorm, I have to make some comments. I have little faith or confidence in democracy as such. Rule by the demos, by the popular will, by the majority, is fraught with serious problems. It’s as Churchill is supposed to have said: “Democracy is the worst of all possible forms of government, except for all the others.” The majority is NOT always right, and has, in fact, a rather poor record for rightness. Christians know that, as the record of the martyrs will well illustrate over the centuries — the majority has nearly always supported the oppression of minorities. What makes me to rejoice in the American experience is not the democracy of majority rule, but rather the highly antidemocratic restrictions our constitution and tradition impose to protect minorities from the will of the majority.: The bill of rights, the checks and balances that make it difficult to enact the legislation desired by a majority, the rather unrepresentative Senate in which small states have an equal voice with very large ones, a presidency chosen by vote, but not necessarily by a numerical majority. It is, to my mind, the restrictions upon pure democracy that place us among the freest nations on earth.

    Sometimes, as in several Mideastern nations recently, the replacement of an autocratic regime by a more democratic one has been disastrous to minorities. This is inevitable when there is not a tradition of minority rights, even if in vigorous opposition to the majority.

    • I don’t know what to make of the US. I have read the stories about Edward Snowden blowing the whistle on some kind of Federal conspiracy to spy on the entire population – and I don’t know what to believe. I have been to the US four times – once to Maryland and Pennsylvania, twice to Tennessee and once to Florida near Tampa on the Caribbean coast. As an Englishman used to living in several countries in Europe, I had mixed impressions. Americans are individualists and conformists at the same time. I have eaten very crappy junk food and I have had some lovely meals with perfectly cooked salmon and Baltimore crab in exquisite dishes.

      I once found myself crammed in an aeroplane (perhaps I should say airplane!) next to a very fat man. He was hot and squishy! He made my flight quite unpleasant, though it was mercifully a relatively short flight from Washington DC to Knoxsville Tennessee. It was on the “crop duster” – two seats one side and one on the other – two turboprops! I used to have a good giggle with a friend in England who drew cartoons of fat American “oooff” bishops looking something like hovercraft and packin’ six shooters, eating whole roast pigs until they exploded! On the other hand, many Americans love sport and keep fit and healthy.

      There are conspiracy theorists, unintelligent people and highly intelligent people. There is both a sense of freedom and an impending police surveillance state like in my native England. Yesterday, the US had Bush, and today, Obama, and there is a feeling that things have not improved for many people. I don’t know what to make of American politics like anywhere else.

      Your criticism of democracy seems to go well with my thoughts and feelings about anarchism. Society doesn’t seem to be able to manage without -archism, but individual persons can – especially when we get in our boats and enjoy a few hours away from it all. For some time, I have entertained a theory about human beings being stupid collectively and capable of genius only when persons are alone and acting on their own initiative. Could democracy be the -cracy of the bandwagon and lack of original thought? That goes for any country.

      I even read an article about some Americans considering a movement of immigration into Europe! Why not, as I have known some very nice American people settling very well over here? If that happened, I could imagine more esteem for Europe’s cultural and spiritual past than some others who come and live in England or France to find work and money for their families!

      We live in a confused and confusing world, whether we are Americans or from anywhere else. We just have to get by as best as we can.

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